Italy: Part One

Recently I've learned how a place can stay distinctly the same while your experience when you visit can change so greatly each time you return. 

In college, seeing Italy through the eyes of someone not yet old enough to order her own beer back home in Georgia, I was lost most of the time in how very different everything was.  How the towns practically shut down in the middle of the day, how the dinner hour didn't really start until after 9 p.m., how everyone seemed dressed in their best every day of the week, every hour of the day. It was colorful, loud, full and bright. 

Eleven years later, celebrating our seven years of marriage and enjoying a short break from our two -- now oldest -- little people, Italy was romantic, offering beautiful views everywhere we looked, delicious food, bottomless glasses of wine, and excuses to linger at outdoor cafes after dark, watching the people go by and talking for hours.  It was a time we wanted to stand still and it's probably a good thing we had so much waiting for us at home, otherwise, we may have been laying out our life savings to buy a ramshackle Tuscan villa.  

Five more years passed (stop doing math) and I met Italy again this month, this time traveling as a daughter and sister.   The shops still close up for long afternoon lunch breaks -- although less than I remembered -- the wine is still plentiful, and the people are still gracious, welcoming hosts.  But on this visit, I had such a deeper appreciation for the beauty in the art, the lessons in the history and the opportunity for uninterrupted time with two of the most important women in my life.  We laughed, we gaped in awe together, we ate ourselves silly.  After eight months of planning it's hard to believe it's over. 

Happy Mother's Day, Mom.  I hope you enjoyed the trip.  I had a hell of a time, myself, and I know Molly did too. 

 

DAY ONE, Thursday   ||   Travel to Rome

 "No Mama, no take my iPad."

"No Mama, no take my iPad."

 The subject of much conversation...could three women really pack for a 10-day trip with just two carry-on bags each?

The subject of much conversation...could three women really pack for a 10-day trip with just two carry-on bags each?

 Stop-over in Detroit.

Stop-over in Detroit.

DAY TWO, Friday   ||   Trastavere and Villa Borghese

 Area Sacra di Torre Argentina, very near where Brutus killed Julius Caesar.  Exact location is unknown.

Area Sacra di Torre Argentina, very near where Brutus killed Julius Caesar.  Exact location is unknown.

 Getting our Audio Tour on at the Galleria Borghese. 

Getting our Audio Tour on at the Galleria Borghese. 

 Each night, we spent time on our hotel's rooftop, enjoying the view (and the WiFi access, of course.)

Each night, we spent time on our hotel's rooftop, enjoying the view (and the WiFi access, of course.)

 St. Peter's Dome

St. Peter's Dome

DAY Three, Saturday   ||   Ancient Rome

 This church is built on the remains of (at least) two earlier churches which you can also visit by climbing down into the excavated spaces.  Truly incredible and, unfortunately, off-limits for further photographs. 

This church is built on the remains of (at least) two earlier churches which you can also visit by climbing down into the excavated spaces.  Truly incredible and, unfortunately, off-limits for further photographs. 

 Colosseum

Colosseum

 Arch of Titus and Temple Ruins

Arch of Titus and Temple Ruins

 The Ancient Roman Forum

The Ancient Roman Forum

 Vittorio Emmanuele II Monument, built in 1870 celebrating the unification of modern Italy.

Vittorio Emmanuele II Monument, built in 1870 celebrating the unification of modern Italy.

 Basilica di Santa Maria in Ara Coeli

Basilica di Santa Maria in Ara Coeli

DAY FOUR, Sunday   ||   Walk Through Historic Rome & The Appian Way

 Market in Campo dei Fiori

Market in Campo dei Fiori

 Piazza Navona

Piazza Navona

 Basilica di Santa Maria Sopra Minerva

Basilica di Santa Maria Sopra Minerva

 Piazza del la Rotunda, Pantheon

Piazza del la Rotunda, Pantheon

 Scaffolding.  And maybe the Trevi Fountain.

Scaffolding.  And maybe the Trevi Fountain.

 While we didn't get to see the Trevi Fountain in all of it's glory, we do get to say we stood right in the middle of it!

While we didn't get to see the Trevi Fountain in all of it's glory, we do get to say we stood right in the middle of it!

 Piazza di Spagna, the Spanish Steps, with one or two of our friends.

Piazza di Spagna, the Spanish Steps, with one or two of our friends.

 Catacombe San Callisto

Catacombe San Callisto

 Another fascinating historical experience, but sadly no photography was allowed below ground.

Another fascinating historical experience, but sadly no photography was allowed below ground.

 Hotel Campo dei Fiori's Rooftop View

Hotel Campo dei Fiori's Rooftop View

 Dinner at L'Orso 80 where I highly recommend ordering the Osso Buco. 

Dinner at L'Orso 80 where I highly recommend ordering the Osso Buco. 

P.S., While there are more Parts to come, this first post wouldn't be complete without sharing my sincerest thanks with the men who made this crazy idea a reality. 

To Clif, for letting us borrow and enjoy Molly's company for so many days; to Wes for holding down the home front with no complaint and your endless, tireless support; and to Dad for making this trip possible, trusting us to take Mom half-way around the world and make these memories that we'll recount around the dinner table for years to come.